Austin Homeless Man on Abusive Relationships, Lost Identification and Homeless Shelters

Austin Homeless Man on Abusive Relationships, Lost Identification and Homeless Shelters

– [Interviewer] Anthony? – Yes. – [Interviewer] We’re here in Austin. – Yes. – [Interviewer] You’re homeless. – Unfortunately, for right now, yeah. – [Interviewer] Tell me about that. – Well, it’s just I came from San Antonio. I was, you know, living with
my mom as she’s had cancer. It was like the second round of cancer and it came back kind of aggressively. Unfortunately, her boyfriend
that she’s, you know, with at the time just
isn’t a really good guy. He’s like verbally abusive. He’s mentally abusive,
like, physically abusive and it got to the point where it just got, it become, like, extreme
and I had been draining, like, my resources and my
time trying to help my mom get into a better spot,
get out of the house, and she would just go back to him. And, it just got to the point
where I was getting involved, my job was getting affected, and so I had to just leave and I was like, “Where
can I go where I’m like, “kind of close to my mom
if something major happens? “But I just can’t be a part
of that situation myself.” And, so I found myself here in Austin. It’s about an hour away so
if anything really major were to happen to my mom, or
I needed to get back home, I could just get back
home, like, pretty quick. But unfortunately the first
night I was in the shelters, here in Austin, the mats
are just so close together and somebody reached over
and grabbed on my bags that had all my vital documents in there. That was like my birth certificate and my social security card, and so I had to cancel all that stuff. Then they make you wait a
time period before you can, like, actually claim it as
stolen in case you find it, or just misplaced it. And, so now I’m going through that process of getting my birth certificate back and getting some of my documents back. That way I can get a job and, like, just get back on my feet. – [Interviewer] Without
ID, you can’t get a job. – And, without an ID, like,
you can’t even get services like that lead you to get a
job, or lead you to get housing. So it’s hard and, without
an ID, like before, like, I guess it was like they could help you but, like, now because of
identity theft and people, like, misrepresenting who they are, they, you have to have,
– Right, know first time, you have to have an ID.
– 9/11. Yeah, since 9/11, with
the terrorism thing, they just cracked down. – Yeah and it was making it kind of hard. It’s been about, I’ve been homeless for about four months
now and it’s been hard because it’s like, to get one document, you have to have the other ones. – Right!
– And, to get those documents, you have to
have those other ones that you’re trying to get and
so I finally got in contact with a church up on the
drag, by the UT campus, the University Methodist Church, and they actually helped
me, like, get into, like, programs where they can help pay for my birth certificate, so that way I don’t have
to worry about that. They can do it online. So then I can start getting
my, like, documents together. So that’s what I’m waiting
on right now, but– – [Interviewer] But,
so now, the family unit or the family relationship
must’ve been so bad that you decided homelessness was better. – Yeah, because it’s all I’ve
really had in my entire life is my mom and so, like,
we’re just like this and to see her, like,
get treated like that and then she just goes back to it. And, then that was
spilling over to me, like, I was getting into fights
with her boyfriend and, like, she would, they would
bring the drama to my work and I got fired from a couple a jobs. And, it just got to
the point where it was, the stress level was just like up to here. – [Interviewer] You took off. – And, I just, I couldn’t
handle it anymore ’cause– – [Interviewer] So besides
getting your stuff stolen and the cots close together,
what was shelter life like? – Ugh, it’s, it’s not, I mean, it’s a shelter and like, so for that,
you have to be grateful but then, like, now to even get in there, it’s like really hard. They’re in transition
of moving the shelters out towards Del Valle
where the county jail is and so, they’ve cut, like, half the number of beds for
single men and even for women. The ARCH runs on a lottery and so you’re not even really
guaranteed to get a bed even. – [Interviewer] Oh, they
do the lottery thing here? – Yeah, so
– Ah! – You’re not even guaranteed a bed, like you could be in line at three o’clock when the gates open. – [Interviewer] So they
kick you out during the day. – Yeah, and then you’ll–
– Ah! – And, then you’ll still get, like, and if, you could’ve been like, the third person in
line, waiting to pull a number, and if you, like, the guy in front of you could get number 27 and you get 130, and that guy’s gonna get a bed before you. And, he was all the way
at the end of the line, barely made it in– – [Interviewer] Yeah, the lottery! – Because he just–
– All of it! – He just got, it’s the pick of the draw.
– It’s their way of trying to deal with not
enough beds for too many people but it’s–
– Yeah. – [Interviewer] Just a horrible. – And, then they say that, like,
they have to do it that way because if they don’t, then it becomes like an issue where people
will just camp right outside, they’re like, you know,
waiting to get the bed for the next day. And, then it’s not
really fair and they say that they’ve been– – [Interviewer] Just build more shelters! – Yeah. – [Interviewer] That’s
what they need to do! – They’ve been accused of,
like, playing favorites, you know, like the people
that have been there. – Right, that’s why
– Forever! – [Interviewer] they’re doing the lottery. – So now they do the lottery so they say, “Hey, nobody can, like, point
the finger at us,” thing. Which I get, you know, nobody wants to– – [Interviewer] But
still, I’d say it’s, ah! – It’s messed up, but– – [Interviewer] It is messed up! (music playing) People just think, they
see a homeless person, “Why don’t they go into a shelter?” – Right. – [Interviewer] And,
they don’t understand, you’re kicked out in the day, you know, you’re kicked out during
the day, like you said, you’re grateful it’s there,
– Yeah! – [Interviewer] But there’s
so many roadblocks– – To get into it. – [Interviewer] You’re
stripped of any decency of a human being. I don’t, you know, I mean, ah! – And, that’s what it’s like, I mean, thank God here in Austin, like, there’s, especially in the downtown area, there’s been like, just like nice people. People who are just like,
I mean, just like you, like, you know, like,
“Hey, what’s your story? “Like, what’s your name? “Like, kind of, like I know that this “didn’t just happen overnight,
so you know, what happened?” And, then there are people who are like, you know, nice enough
to point to you, like, “Hey, I know about this one program. “I know about this one place. “Or, I can call my friend
who works over here.” So like, it seems like you get more help from the people that live here than the people that are employed with these organizations to help–
– Oh my gosh, that’s interesting!
– get you resources. And, it’s like, I mean,
like, a lady saw me, I was at the JW Marriott
and I’d cross by once and I’d cross by again,
and I was just, like, looking for cigarettes and this, I asked a guy for a cigarette
and she had seen me ask the guy for a cigarette and she smokes, and the guy gave me a
dollar, and I was like, “A dollar and a cigarette?” And, I was, like, “Man, thank you Boss, I really appreciate that, like,
you didn’t have to do that,” and he was like, “Nah, it’s okay,” he’s like, “you asked really nice,” and he’s like, “and you’re not pushy.” He goes, “I’ve seen you around.” Then this lady comes over
from the JW Marriott, here for a conference,
doesn’t even know my name, she goes, “I seen you pass by, you know, like a couple times tonight,” she was like, “can I help
you out with anything?” She’s like, “Are you hungry?” And, I was like, “Man,
that would be awesome!” And, the lady, like, still
hadn’t even got my name, went to the corner bar at
the JW Marriott right here, ordered me a burger, with
like everything on it, and then comes back to me. We’re just sitting down talking while the burger’s waiting
and the burger comes and this lady, like, just
went above and beyond and I just broke down crying because the guy gave me the checkbook, but when I opened up the checkbook, there was $100 bill in
there from her to me. – [Interviewer] Checkbook? – The checkbook from the, from the– – Oh my Ga!
– from the burger. – [Interviewer] Oh I got it, yeah, yeah, the bill for the food. – Yeah, for the bill for the food. The guy handed it to me, he
goes, “Here’s your check.” And, I was like, I’m like thinking, “Oh my God–”
– Oh my God! “did this lady just pay?” – [Interviewer] Yeah! – And, then I opened it
up and there was $100 bill and as I look back at
him, he winks and he goes, “That was from her,” and
I was like, “My God!” So I was like, I mean, and
that happens, like a lot, you know, people will see you, like, “Hey, are you hungry?” And, they won’t give you their leftovers, I mean, yeah, sure, some of them will, but
– Yeah, yeah, yeah! – I have experienced more times than not, they’ll bring me somewhere
to go buy me something fresh. – [Interviewer] Oh my
gosh, that’s awesome! – And, that’s why I was like, man, there’s more help, like, from people that live here and work here, like just in this little area,
like, that I kinda stay at, ’cause it’s safer ’cause
there’s just so many people. I get more help from, like, these people. You know, not just like money or clothes. I’m talking about, like,
resources to where, like, I can plug into and, like,
you know, help myself. And, so like that’s one of the
things that I’ve been lucky, ’cause like, back home in San Antonio, if you’re homeless and
you’re on the street, they automatically think you’re on drugs, or you’re on alcohol and
that’s your own fault! – [Interviewer] You got that
horrible Haven for Hope. – Cravin’ for dope, yep,
yeah, that’s what it is! (laughing) – [Interviewer] That’s the name now? – Yeah. – [Interviewer] Oh my gosh, that’s a– – ‘Cause now they can bring it in there. – [Interviewer] No way! Well, into the courtyard area? – Yeah, ’cause now they said that– – [Interviewer] They’re
makin’ it low barrier. – They said to check
and to check everybody as excessive as they do right now, they said it’s a violation of human rights.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah! So but, back to– – But, yeah, it’s– – [Interviewer] You know,
you’re getting more help, you feel like you’re
getting little more help than from the non-profits. The non-profits are just
layered with bureaucracy. – Yeah. – [Interviewer] That, for them to go and buy a sandwich
– In layers. – [Interviewer] Or, to,
you know, fill a gas tank, or get you a sleeping
bag, they have to put in a check request and then
it has to get approved, and– – Yeah. – [Interviewer] You know,
their funders don’t pay for that stuff, so then they don’t do it and that’s why we gotta
reduce the bureaucracy and get everybody to help. – And, that was one of the things that they were talking about. They said there’s, I mean,
the population of Austin is growing at, they
said a substantial rate, like, in the last five years, it’s been the fastest
growing city in the country, like, three times. They’re like, and they
said if 200,000 people would just, in this city, would just donate $10.00,
every month, for six months, and then, you know, let
somebody else pick it up, we would have enough to
fully fund two shelters that would be able to
hold about 350 beds each. – [Interviewer] Wow! – Because it would bring in about 2.5, $3 million
– Wow! every month– – [Interviewer] Right! – For these shelters, if someone
would just donate $10.00, like, not even everybody in the city, just a fraction of the city, would just donate $10.00, like, a month. And, then, like, bam,
that would be a shelter! And, but then it’s, a lot
of people don’t wanna donate to causes that they don’t really know what their money’s going to. So like, even with me,
like, people have told me, I was like, “I just need,” like, I had a family
emergency and my brother died and I had to get to
Corpus, and I was like, showing people, like, the
ticket price and saying, “Hey, like, I really need to
get to Corpus for a funeral.” You know, they call, then they’re like, “Hey, like we’re here, like with Anthony and we’re gonna be buying
him a ticket to Corpus, a round trip ticket to Corpus, so he can get to his brother’s funeral, but we just wanna make sure
that it was, like, all legit.” My mom was like, “Yeah.” (mumbling) So they’re like, “I’m sorry
we didn’t believe you. “It’s just there’s so many people come up “and ask us for money, and.” – [Interviewer] What would
you want housed people to know about homelessness? – I would want people to know that homelessness is not
just a one track mind. It’s, anybody can fall into
homelessness at any given point, like, I mean, whether you’re a millionaire or you barely have,
like, a meal for today. Like, I mean, anybody can
fall into homelessness and it’s like, you could lose a job, and not have enough to pay rent, and end up in a situation like this. Or, sometimes, like, just being
very real, it is addiction. Sometimes it is alcohol. Sometimes there are mental health problems but it’s not all just a one track mind. Some people are here ’cause they have, like, family violence, they’re in– – [Interviewer] The leading
cause of homelessness is lack of affordable housing. And, then it’s domestic
violence and all the others! – Yeah, and with the way that the city is rapidly growing and
just getting gentrified, it’s making it harder and harder, for just like middle-class Americans, living in this city, just to make it. Like, I know people that, like, they make, I mean, they don’t necessarily
have like the best jobs, but they get paid really good money. And, I mean, they’re taking home like, $1,300.00 a month, $1,400.00 a month after taxes and stuff but they still have to have two, three roommates ’cause rents are just going up because they’re not doing anything to the actual complexes but it’s because, like, these high rises– – [Interviewer] Yeah, yeah, yeah. – Multi-billion
– Fourteen hundred dollars and you can’t afford– – Hotels.
– Can’t afford anything. – You know, and so it’s, you know, like, – [Interviewer] That’s working, yeah, you can’t afford. – So I know people have, like,
two, three, four roommates, like, and that’s how they’re
able to afford an apartment. – [Interviewer] But that’s not
sustainable, like, you know, roommates are a nice idea
but people are challenging. If you had three wishes,
what would they be? – Oh, three wishes! I would eliminate cancer from the world. I think that’s just… – [Lady Walking By] And, you’re what? – [Interviewer] Great wish! – Like, the lives and the
talent and just the potential, like, that this world has lost because cancer is taking people out, like, so I would say, I
would eliminate cancer. I would ask, I would honestly ask
for $1 million dollars to do this shelter project
because there’s so many people out here who just, they need help. They don’t know where to go to and they’re kind of scared
to go and ask for help, ’cause they don’t know where to, they don’t know how they’re gonna, the response that they’re gonna get. So I would want $1 million
to build the shelter so that, like, people
would have a place to go, where they wouldn’t be
kicked out during the day. We had a record summer
this year, like 68 days of 100 plus degree weather this year. And, we had another 50 behind those that were just a degree
or two off, yeah, of 100. So I’d build a shelter
to where they, people could come during the day and chill out, like, I mean, not just a lounge pad but like, get resources done and– – [Interviewer] Help the community. – Yeah, have a little community, you know, like, a sense of just normalcy, and. – [Interviewer] Number three? – Number three, Minnesota
Twins win a World Series. – [Interviewer] Minnesota? Oh my gosh,
– That’s where I’m from. – [Interviewer] And, I
thought you were a Texan? Ah! – Well, I’ve been here for 20 plus years so I technically, think
that counts me as a Texan. I’m only 30, so– – [Interviewer] Ah,
everybody’s got their team, could be some place else. – But, you know, I love my
Twins, I love my Cowboys, I love my Astros, so. – [Interviewer] There ya go! – But yeah, I would– – [Interviewer] Covered all
the bases there, literally! – Yeah, I’d want, I’d
want the Minnesota Twins to win a World Series, $1
million to get a shelter built for the community, and eliminate cancer. – [Interviewer] Yeah,
well thank you very much for talking to me.
– Yeah, no problem! Thank you so much! (engaging music) (whooshing) (whooshing) (whooshing) (whooshing) (bright tones) (zipping) (whooshing) (bright tones)

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About the Author: Sam Caldwell


  1. Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here [] to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.

  2. Thanks for the upload. Im homeless out of LA. Theres some good people in Hollywood and downtown LA that are not part of the hollywood scene, and want to get back on thier feet. Dont judge and build more productive providing positive shealters in LA.

  3. I would love your opinion on some of these major cities Annual budget for the homeless, and why millions of dollars cannot operate a shelter for 2000 people. Your input on what exactly the cost is and why it’s so unattainable for the cities.


  5. This guys experience is similar to mine. But what he lacks is money making skills. You can make money online easily these days

  6. wow, this guy's a genius!! dial 2-1-1 & they'll help you get your ID, connect you to shelters. that is some amazing footwork, my friend!! & then he has the nerve to complain about the way the beds are spaced where he's sleeping & that they kicked him out during the day (this is the way EVERY shelter functions!) btw, not a hater, here . . . i myself have been homeless. but i never complained. figured you do the crime, you do the time!! move thru this . . .

  7. Thanks for interviewing a non-addict non-disabled homeless person.. The ~they are all addicts or disabled~ narrative is fed way too much

  8. The residents are more helpful than the employees of organizations that are supposed to help homeless…..maybe employees do want to help more …ever think that the employees have to follow stupid rules set by employer if they want to keep their job?

  9. One step at a time, Antony, I know it's frustrating. Weird, but, coming from a former social worker turned writer, a few years ago I wrote a short story about a homeless teen who was living in a car with his mom, and it was called Invisible, because no one at school knew he was homeless, and he was too ashamed to tell anyone until someone stepped in to give them a hand up.

  10. These stories are so common I, wish the outcome wasn’t.

    People deserve so much more than what they’ve got..

    Good luck & God bless you all…

  11. Hes from the shelter and hes cleaned up and getting hooked up with services he will p r obably get a job better then someone who lives in a tent and is dirty.

  12. Is getting that bad here in Phoenix. I am still spending hours every day trying to sale most of my belongings so I don't end up back on the streets . Another great video

  13. Shelter the worst places to go for homeless people thank God I ain't homeless but if I was that's the last place I would go..

  14. During the recession the homeless were given free cell phones. I think this was a nation wide thing started by the Obama administration. I think they should start this again. I don't mind having $5.00 added to my cell phone bill for this each month. If some engineers could get together and come up with a technology that would eliminate the $5.00 cost then every homeless person could have a free cell phone to find a job.

  15. That's the way I would do it myself homeless person I usually always offered him food.. I'll never give anyone my leftovers that's rude I think I'm for homeless people that's rude you don't give them leftover food that's bull crap…

  16. I went through the same thing here in Austin for a few years. You can get back on your feet fairly quick if you stay sober and vigilent in trying to get off the streets here in Austin, there's people and place that will help you if you're commited to it. I quit drinking when I first got here 15 years ago, went through rehab, lived in AA's for a few years, and have been sober ever since.

  17. He's still positive in most ways possible in his situation unfortunately homeless is world wide problem I was homeless 13 14 yrs ago now iv my own rented apt an me my 2 boys so things can change people can be great helped my own personal case

  18. A toxic family? Run child! But plot before you take off because there's no time to go back where you started from. Trust me this is not easy to say.

  19. If you are homeless, hold on to your ID dearly.. at the least hand it over to someone until you get a house. May be keep the ID in your underwear. My god!!! It's very frustrating and powerless to hear the repeating stories of IDs being lost.

  20. God help us. Mom’s boyfriend. Narc. Evil narc. Robbers. Thieves. Stealing. Taking.
    Street rats. There out there. Mom was seduced by a narc. Narcs are demon possessed.
    Shelters ? Russian roulette watchers. Coldness. “ what happened “ Hillary book.
    I now know when I hand twenties out – how truly cool it is. He’s young and strong.
    Guy is clear thought – aware – 3 steps ahead – but overwhelmed. Hope he’s strong enough.
    Brothers funeral. Damn. Violence. Illegals. Roommates.
    A place for people to chill out – when it’s roasting – ohhhh the compassion.

  21. Exploitative policies that allow large investment banking firms is what is behind the mass purchases of rental properties and the ratcheting up of rents beyond what people can pay

  22. This guy already has one good feature alot of people dont. he is good at talking and explaining if I had that I swear I would become successful.

  23. Yeah just get and go back to an 'establishment' job = Just Over Broke
    . . Why not hey
    wash, rinse, repeat.

  24. I feel awful for him, he couldn't watch his Mom who is fighting Cancer be in an abusive relationship so he chose to leave. God Bless him 🙏❤

  25. I’ve been in Austin over ten years, the influx of people has made it very hard to live here. I’m lucky since I’m single and no kids, but Austin since I’ve moved in has gone downhill as a good place to live in. It sucks how “the economy” can mess up such a nice place to live in. Anyway, I hope this guy gets going up soon and stays strong.

  26. You know, you should STOP asking about those 3 wishes. You don't have the POWER to grant them, besides it all feels like some sort of MOCKERY! I know you mean well. .but please . .no more.

  27. He has remained positive & hopeful and seems very sharp. The domestic issues with his mom being sick & with an abusive partner is very sad & more common than we want to believe. Very sad all the way around.

  28. I am living in a motel, with me& my special need child. Due to me not moving out when the motel supposed to have given me a notice have turned into a unlawful eviction. I can’t afford to rent & would love to stay where I am at. I have no where to go once it get to the sheriffs lock out. I need someone who can help I & my family out. I have been watching his episode to learn about survival. This will be me in a few days on the streets. Help is hard to get. I have been homeless since 2015

  29. I'm not buying this entire story. His mother has Cancer and her boyfriend is abusive? He should have called APS. More to this story….

  30. My suggestion to homeless people is to get a bumbag…those ones you strap to your body and always keep your ID znd any cards in it and have it under your shirt. Or if you dont have a bumbag then when you are sleeping in a shelter or on the streets, put your ID in your socks that yiu are wearing. Another idea would be to hand stich a secret pocket inside your shirt or wear a tshirt unside out so the pocket is towards the inside like a secret pocket and keep your ID in there. Too many homeless people say they have their ID stolen or they lose it.

  31. Still waiting for Bob to interview that 12yo little white boy living on the streets. Still waiting Bob, we are still waiting…

  32. I’ve been down, and listening to this man actually makes me feel positive in a wonderful way, because it’s so easy to make things better in your immediate environment. Things don’t change on their own, but he highlights just how I and others who have the resources can help people all around them in ways that are meaningful, and when your down all you really want is a real connection in feeling that you are not only helping others… but connected with them.

  33. I'll keep y'all in my prayers.. it is pretty sad we're the most prosperous country in the world and yet we have the most homeless crisis and mess incarceration more than any other country in the world combined pretty freaking sad!!!!

  34. Make copies of your vital documents and keep them "originals" in a safe place. Go into any police station and ask for biometric id. They can fingerprint you and verify your Identity on the spot. Day labor pays 20.00 plus an hour.

  35. So many moms would give everything to have a son like Antony and wouldn't trade him for any lover at all. He was helping her emotionally, physically and financially.

  36. Only 20%of money that you donate to "none profit "organizations goes to homeless people.
    I rather give them clothes and food and offer them jobs .

  37. Go back to San Antonio and be wth and help your mom. You can help each other. Austin is no place for you when you don't HAVE to be homeless.

  38. I had to look up "gentrified". Basically what I always called "upscaling" the neighborhood. It does cause problems for those on a lower-income level, myself included. It gets so you can't afford to buy anything in that neighborhood.

  39. Seems like a nice mellow guy. Social Services are always worried that if they help you too much they'll end up helping themselves out of a paycheck.

  40. Why didn’t he just get a place in San Antonio? That’s what I don’t understand. I KNOW how expensive ATX is.

  41. Is this Trumps idea of making America great again?…same in the UK;republicans n conservatives couldn’t care less what happens to the peasant classes.
    There more interested in flooding their countries,with more outsiders :making matters worse.
    Why not build some log cabins out in the countryside ..and kit them out,or trailer parks..instead of wasting money on stupid arms races.
    Let them have somewhere to call their own ,until things get better.
    Hope his fortunes change soon.

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